#AfricanLeaders: Nigeria
September 30, 2016
October 9, 2016

#GetToKnow: Lesotho

The Kingdom Lesotho, also known as the Mountain Kingdom or Kingdom in the Sky. Basutoland was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the United Kingdom in 1966[1]. Basuto National Party (BNP) ran the country during its first twenty years after independence. After internal political fighting, King Moshoeshoe was exiled in 1990.

He later returned to Lesotho in 1992 and was reinstated in 1995. His son King Letsie III succeeded him in 1996. The country was under military rule until 1993; at which point a constitutional government was restored toppling the monarchy.  Violent protests and a military mutiny were prompted by disputed elections in 1998. South Africa and Botswana had to intervene under the banner of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Subsequent constitutional reforms restored relative political stability. Peaceful parliamentary elections were held in 2002, but the National Assembly elections of February 2007 were hotly contested and aggrieved parties disputed how the electoral law was applied to award proportional seats in the Assembly[2].

Prime Minister Mothejoa and Thomas Thabane formed a coalition government – the first in the country’s history – that ousted the 14 year incumbent Pakalitha Mosilili. He peacefully transferred power the following month.

However Mosislili returned to power in snap elections in February 2015 after the collapse of Thabane’s coalition government and an alleged attempted military coup. He is the current incumbent.


 Basic Indicators


Independence Year October 4 1996
Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili
Government Constitutional monarchy
Capital City Maseru
GDP (2013) US$ 1, 125.59
Population (2015) 2 166 923[3]
Religion Christianity, indigenous beliefs, Roman Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists
Major Languages English, Sotho
Currency Lesotho Loti
Life Expectancy Women 49.82; Men 49.58[4]



[1] CIA. The World Fact Book. Available at: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/lt.html. Accessed: 02 October 2016.

[2]  BBC. Lesotho country profile. 2016. Available at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13728324. Accessed: 03 October 2016.

[3] Country Metres. Lesotho Population clock. Available at: countrymeters.info. Accessed:03 October 2016.

[4] Country economy. Life expectancy Lesotho. Available at: countryeconomy.com. Accessed 03 October 2016.